Monday, August 26, 2013

A Great Big Texas Welcome to Romance Author, Celia Yeary!

This week we are visiting with Western romance author Celia Yeary, who shares with us her ideas on inspiration, imagination and the art of writing. Celia is a prolific author of historical and contemporary romances, most of which are set in Texas.  One of the nicest people you'll ever meet, Celia is talented, enthusiastic and very supportive of aspiring new authors. Welcome, Celia!

How I Tackle Writing
Celia Yeary

Did you know you can find numerous articles on the internet about how to write a novel? Most of them begin with “think of a good story.” Now that, in my opinion, is the most fascinating bit of advice I’ve ever read. “Think of a good story.” I've wondered if Margaret Mitchell said that to herself as she sat down at her typewriter. She certainly had a good story; I’ll admit that.

Recently, I learned from another blog that Margaret Mitchell actually did sit down at her typewriter in her small apartment to "see if she could write a book." She began with the last chapter, which I found to be of great interest, and when she finished Gone With the Wind, she was reluctant to allow anyone to read it. Amazing, isn't it? And that was the one and only book she ever wrote.
If I could be so lucky. But I'm not.

First, for me to think up a good story I need time to DAYDREAM. That’s step number one —time to stare into space and let my mind wander, imagining a scene or a character. This might occur while I’m watching mind-numbing television, or while we’re on a long road trip and I have time to stare at the highway in front of me, or best of all, if the house is quiet and I’m all alone. 

Second, I need A PROMPT of some kind. This might be an old weathered gray house on the side of the road, and I wonder who lived there and why. Maybe I see unique person walking along the sidewalk, and I wonder who she is and where is she going. Perhaps I read a news article, and something in it turns into a scene with people acting out the story in the article. 

Third, I need to ENVISION a character, male or female, doesn’t matter. Who is this character? What is her story?

I needed to write a 25,000 word Christmas story, and I thought of a couple I know who recently married. She is a nurse, very tall, and she married a doctor who was even taller. They worked together on a medical mission team in Guatemala and fell in love. So, my story is based on a young woman who is to be maid of honor to her brother’s best man. She worries about her height, but when she meets him, he stands even taller than she. And of course, he’s a hunk. In my story, my heroine is a pediatric nurse and my hero is an ex-Army medic. A Christmas Wedding was born.

Of all the things that might make me think of a story, the PROMPT is the most important.

For The Stars at Night,  the PROMPT was an officer on a motorcycle who passed us on the highway to stop a big black SUV in the Central Texas Hill Country. At the time, I wondered--who was driving that vehicle? A woman? Where is she going in such a hurry? As we passed, I noticed the SUV had New York license plates. Aha! The story began.

The PROMPT for Addie and the Gunslinger actually came from a publisher's description of novellas they were seeking for a series. A story immediately came to me, about an outlaw who had gone straight but landed in jail anyway. A beautiful woman arrived to save him, and through his bewilderment at her claiming he was her long lost sorry husband, he played along to get out of jail. This novella has become my all-time best-selling story--and it was a reject from the publisher.
I'll bet many authors write stories based on something unexpected. Not many of us can sit down like Margaret Mitchell with the thought, "I'll see if I can write a book." On the other hand, maybe she had a prompt that we don't know about. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know what that was?
My most recent releases are Western Contemporary Romance novellas: "Rodeo Man" and "Truck Stop Paradise." I call these companion stories, as both are set in West Texas and Dallas. This was purely coincidental on my part. However, the novellas are stand-alone stories. I asked Karen Michelle Nutt, the artist, to create covers that resembled each other, and she did a great job.

BLURB for Rodeo Man
Celia Yeary
Marla Ellington inherits an abandoned town on ranchland near Arrowhead, Texas. When she arrives to claim her property, and finds Cody Matheson sitting on the porch of the dilapidated honky-tonk, her temper flares hotter than her pistol. Anger blazing, she settles in for a showdown.
Cody’s only goal for the week is to win the bull-riding event at the Saturday night rodeo. But when Marla receives an anonymous threat that forces her to leave town, Cody finds himself smack-dab in the middle of a mystery. ’Course, catching a criminal and lasting eight seconds on a bull are easy compared to winning the love of the feisty, strawberry-blonde beauty who wants
nothing to do with him.
Now it's his turn for a showdown.

Barnes and Noble-- 

BLURB for Truck Stop Paradise
 Leigh Anne McClintock has spent her adult life shielding her addictive sister Crissy. But when Crissy abandons a horse, Leigh Anne borrows a pick-up and trailer and takes the horse from North Texas to the Panhandle ranch owned by a childhood friend, Chad Rogers.
Chad has wondered for years why his best friend Leigh Anne betrayed him and her sister Crissy on the night of their ten-year high school reunion. When Leigh Anne arrives, he willingly takes in the animal, and he cautiously tries to make peace with Leigh Anne. They feel the old attraction, but neither can let go of the past.
When Crissy makes a disturbing appearance, will Chad and Leigh Anne finally learn to put themselves first ... and find the love that had been there all along.

Barnes and Noble-

***I'd love to give away a copy of each novella. If you have a Kindle or a Nook, if I choose your name, I'll Gift both to you. If I choose your name and you've already read these stories, please feel free to find my Author Page on Amazon--or Barnes and Noble--and find two other books you'd like to have.
Thank you all for visiting and reading How I Tackle Writing.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Celia, thank you so much for visiting! Best wishes for continued success with your writing.  I hope you will come back again soon.  :-)

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Writer's Sense of Place: Welcome, Author Kelley Heckart

What a thrill to visit with historical romance fantasy author Kelley Heckart this week. Kelley has chosen a fascinating topic to explore: the writer's sense of place. How does a setting call to a writer? How does a writer choose a setting for their work? This week we will explore all this and more with Kelley - a great writer and a wonderful friend. Leave a comment and you will be eligible to win a PDF of Kelley's short story, THE ENCHANTED MEADOW and a $!0 Amazon gift card. Welcome, all! 

What is your favorite place in the whole world?

Since I don’t travel much outside the United States, my world is kind of small. This didn’t stop me from finding a place I love to re-visit any chance I can. I fell in love with Sedona, AZ, an enchanting place with red-painted rock formations that create a stunning sight in the changing light of the sun. In Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon cuts through lush greenery where dapples of sunlight peek through the archway of trees, glittering and dancing on the water.

Sedona is a unique blend of desert and mountain regions—red sand looks striking against dark green conifers. It’s no wonder this place, touched by the Creator, has vortexes. I have had more than one spiritual awakening here. And I’ve often wondered why I haven’t set one of my stories here.

So, as I was researching Daughter of Night, set in the mountain regions of Anatolia (modern Turkey), I came across a place similar to Sedona. It was a delightful discovery and, of course, this place is used as a setting in my book.

Yazilikaya is a rock sanctuary that was used as a holy sight by the Hittites, an ancient Anatolian people who established an empire in north-central Anatolia around 18th century BC, lasting until about 1200 BC. The Hittites play an important part in Daughter of Night.

Some of the rock formations at Yazilikaya even have a reddish color. The Hittites saw the beauty of this place and used it as a dedication to their gods with sculptural decorations and hieroglyphic inscriptions. A spring of fresh water once flowed through this sanctuary.

Here is an excerpt from Daughter of Night of a scene near the rock sanctuary. Becuille, a vengeance goddess, has been made mortal by Rhea and is now Inaras, a slave to the Hatti (Hittite) royal house. Callileon is a prince of the Hatti.

At the base of a range of craggy hills appeared a paradise of towering red rocks and pine trees in a pleasing blend of red and green. A clear spring sparkled and bubbled beneath the stalwart giants framed by regal pines. Becuille sensed the power of the ancient shrine vibrating through her veins.
He halted the horse, tugging gently on the reins. “This is an open air chamber, a shrine to our gods and goddesses. Someday there will be temples here.” He pointed to the inner chamber.
She wondered why humans wanted to destroy the natural beauty of a place by building manmade temples. “It is beautiful as it stands, untouched by human hands.”
“I agree with you, Inaras. I always wonder if the gods really care for all the temples built in their honor.”
“Some do, I suppose, but here I feel the awesome nature of the gods without the help of manmade temples.” A sense of serenity rippled through her body.
“I have a surprise for you and I think you will like it.” He urged the horse forward past the rock shrines and into a secret grove of oak and alder tucked away beneath a range of barren rock. Green grass and bright yellow flowers found life beneath the sheltering trees. He dismounted and helped her down. She adjusted to standing again, her legs buckling at first. His strong arms held on to her so she would not fall. She felt like she was living a dream and wondered when she would awake.
Callileon left the horse to graze. He escorted her to a seat on soft grass underneath a wide branched oak. Fresh smelling grass, along with the fragrant leaves and flowers, filled the air. The pleasing scents put a smile on her face. She enjoyed being away from the city and all the unpleasant smells associated with a crowded town.
He watched her, arching his thick brow. A crooked smile lit up his face. “You are a complex woman, Inaras, such a mystery.”
“And you are a complex man,” she said with an easy smile.
His expression grew serious, his eyes somber. “If I confess something about myself will you tell me why you were crying?”
“Agreed. You confess first,” she said, hoping he would tell her why it was hard for him to feel love.
“I will tell you something I have never talked about with anyone. You probably wonder why I would tell you, someone I barely know. The truth is since that day in the stables, I can think of no one else but you.”
His gaze appeared truthful, but her heart wrenched with so much deceit.
“I was in love once. At the end of the summer season two years past, we traveled to a nearby settlement. It should have been a safe journey, only in my youthful arrogance I failed to pay attention to our surroundings. We were attacked by a band of Mitanni warriors. She was raped and killed, and I could not save her. I blame myself for her horrible death.” He took her hand and placed it underneath his tunic near his shoulder.
The puckered scar rose like a mountainous ridge beneath her fingertips, the painful memories stored there.
His expression turned somber. “This ugly scar is my constant reminder of that day, the day I failed to save the one I loved.”
Her heart throbbed with pain for him. Her problems seemed so benign next to his. “Is that why you find it so hard to love?”
“Yes.” He held her hand. “Now tell me why you were crying as if your heart would break.”
She hesitated, collecting her thoughts. “I have lost all that I know, the life I had before now,” she said, drawing on her past. “I felt lost and alone. I have no idea why I ended up in the stables, but for some reason it was comforting to me and the tears just fell.”
“We have much in common, you and I.” He gently squeezed her hand. “You were taken from your people and sold into slavery in a strange land. I, too, lost all that I knew. The king was close to my father, one of his vassal kings. They were hearth friends and so he adopted me as a child, but I do not feel like I belong here sometimes.”
“Perhaps we can comfort one another.” The barriers dropped between them. Becuille touched his cheek now clothed in a fine layer of golden beard. She kissed his mouth. Tenderness and passion surged through her body, her heart echoing in her chest in a thrilling tempo.
His hands grasped the back of her neck, pulling her into his arms.
All of the feelings she kept pent up rushed out, and she became lost in his loving embrace. They were no longer master and slave, but two people lost and in need of something to hold on to.

Blurb from Daughter of Night:
Their destiny began in the ancient land of Anatolia.

In 1326 BC, Crete is the last remaining sacred place for the Great Goddess, but changes began to threaten the old gods, the Titans. Forced to become an ally to the power hungry Olympian gods, Rhea hangs on to the secret of the star metal, the one key that would make Zeus and the other young gods invincible. When this secret is stolen, Rhea must find the Dactyl and the goddess who betrayed Her before Zeus does.

Becuille is a daughter of Night, a servant of the Great Goddess created to impart Her vengeance on mortal and immortal wrongdoers. Made mortal by Rhea, she is sent to find the ones who betrayed the Great Goddess. In the land of Hatti, she meets a proud and handsome prince. When love binds her to him, her loyalties are torn.

Callileon, a prince of the Hatti, has closed off his heart to love only to rediscover it in the arms of the mysterious and fiery slave girl he has purchased. He is caught up in a dangerous world of power hungry gods, jealous goddesses and potent magic, which even the Fates cannot steer him away from.

Can two mortals fight the will of the gods?

How to find Kelley:
Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Links to pictures of Yazilikaya:

Thank you for a wonderful visit, Kelley. Please come back and visit with us soon!
Friends, leave a comment and you will be eligible to win a PDF of Kelley's short story, THE ENCHANTED MEADOW and a $!0 Amazon gift card.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome, Author Christine London!

This week I am welcoming author Christine London to Gina's World of Good. A prolific author, Christine's novel WHEN WE WERE AMAZING was selected as Author 100 Romances Best of the Year. It a delight to have her visit this week. Leave a comment and be eligible to win a PDF of WHEN WE WERE AMAZING and a $!) Amazon Gift Card. Welcome, Christine!

Now let's get on with our chat.

What makes a book great in your eyes?

   The emotions it evokes. For a book to do its job, for it to have meaning and maybe even change my life it has to ring true to something important. Whether that is the oh-so-real challenges faced by fictional characters or the depth of thought in a nonfiction work, the key to success, to reaching me, is through my heart.
  Uplift. Educate, Entertain. Inspire.
What is the hardest scene you ever had to write?
   Australia, France and California. In spite of the globe hopping backdrops the hardest scene I ever had to write was a car accident. A three year old girl, Livvie, is struck, hand yanked from her brother, Cooper. Her mother Carrie arrives moments later to see the floral print dress of her little girl, limbs askew, peeking out from beneath the car that struck her. Just recalling it now makes my heart squeeze tight in my chest. Anyone who has loved a three year old. Anyone who has had a child. Anyone would feel the same.
Pastel painted facades of six story buildings abutted the frontage, like Lego blocks in a child’s display of idealized reality lining the curve of river. Pedestrians walked along narrow sidewalks. A balloon-tired bike darted onto the street with the thrum of rubber against cobblestones. It all seemed surreal, as though the camera of life had broken, shifted into fluid encumbered ballet.

From around the corner she came, Livvie toting Cooper. Determination in her stance she pulled on him like a dog on its lead. A spotlight of happiness shone, her children in the midst of the gloom. They reached the curb. Carrie lifted her hand to wave, to call.

And then the world slowed into eternity.

The grip was broken. Livvie dove into the street headlong, unseeing toward river’s edge. A screech of tires. The blur of metal. Then interminable silence. Carrie wanted her heart to stop, because if what she saw was true, her life was over.

She froze, blood turning to ice in her veins. Power unknown shot through her. Muscles fired to life propelling her forward. She was at the front bumper of the white sedan before she could take another breath. Hands on the hood, she pushed with the strength of heaven. The car rolled back, and Livvie’s crumpled form appeared, an unnatural twisting of limbs, clothing, hair. Her face was turned toward the undercarriage, ear and cheek the only visible features.

Carrie’s first reaction was to hold her, rock her in her arms like the baby she was. Sing a
lullaby, the aural version of motherly shield from harm. Feel the weight of her, the reassuring warmth, the powder sweet scent of her ivory flesh against hers, in her nostrils reassurance of home, safety, life.

But like a china doll, Livvie lay motionless, broken.

The scream that erupted from her core sounded distant, yet it tore something irreplaceable from her. It was like her own blood poured forth on that street in Lyon, all color, all light draining from the world in an instant. Carrie looked up as though a magnet drew her eyes.

Cooper jolted to a halt above her, face contorted in horror.

Torn from her, Carrie’s heart vacated her chest, leaving in its place a chasm of cold, hideous death.

“Call. Get help.” More disembodied words, the sound coming from her, but not real. She
turned back to the rumpled form below, covering her with the tent of her chest, so carefully surrounding the sweet floral fabric of Liv’s dress. Cheek placed on cheek, she listened for respiration.


Excerpt from: When We Were Amazing - Christine London ( )

 Twenty three year old Aussie wine heir Bryan Lassiter wanted nothing more than to be a self made man. When online love, California ranch owner Carrie Sorrell flies half way round the globe to visit him, she’d no idea his magnetism would erase both their fourteen year age difference and her common sense. As fate and a powerful family collide to tear them apart, will she have the strength to let him go or will it be the secret she’s so carefully protected that destroys… or heals?
What is your favorite place in the whole world?
   Those who read my blog know I adore exploring new places. From California's golden grassed hills to Paris and London's historical wonders, to Australia's wine country and back. I have happily traveled to many gorgeous locales.
   At the end of the day, it is my own back garden that I adore. Perhaps it is the familiarity of home. Maybe the plants that I have memorized over the years as I care for them. Maybe the dancing twinkle of lights strung along my pergola or the happy tinkle of the wind chime. More likely, it is the place my closest friends and family have gathered, sometimes around the round of raised brick fire pit, sometimes at the simple white rimmed and glass picnic table. Maybe it is their love and presence that makes it so.
   My back garden is my favorite place in the world.
If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend they start with and why?
  Now that would depend of if that someone was a fan of short reads or full length novels, spicy or sweet. End of October or first of November my anthology of short stories, 55 Portobello Road, is slated to come out in both e and print format at Six of the eight shorts are already available at Amazon in electronic format for 99 cents.
Notting Hill Scrooge -
Happy New Year Baby -
Valentine Huntsman -
Pancake Race -
Cait the Cat Burglar -
Caught Being Good -

 They are a great way to get a taste of my American/British tinged tales in a short, sweet doses you may not wish to end.


Full length fleshed out tale? My first is the story of my heart that got me into this biz (Soul In His Eyes ), though unless you like celebrity-meets-every-day-girl stories with the celeb having the most to learn, you might prefer the lavish, sexy love letter to Hawaii (Reluctant Companions ) or the touching tale of a young woman coming to terms with the recent diagnosis that has shattered her world—Leap of Faith .


Hard to say, and certainly as personal a choice as the clothes you wear. All can be sampled at  under the pull down menu of the "Books" tab.

What three things bring you to tears?
These days, a lot. Maybe it is the softening of the heart as we age or the fluctuating hormones that does it.
- The beauty in nature, be that a breathtaking sunrise or a snow capped mountain jutting from the verdant green of the valley below. God's paintbrush is unrivalled.
-A heartfelt note from a reader whose life has been touched by what I have written.
-The distance and infrequency in seeing my Marine First Lieutenant daughter stationed clear on the other side of the continent—and how very proud I am of her courage and accomplishments. Trying to come to terms with the fact that my disabled son may never enjoy all the things in life with which I have been blessed. (Oh, that four— Sorry.)

   Thank you for leading me through this amazing journey with the thoughtful questions you have asked, Regina. I love visiting you and your readers.

Thank you for visiting, Christine! Please come back again soon.

Here are some ways to find Christine in cyberspace:

Christine London
Author 100 Romances Best Of the Year, When We Were Amazing
Tweet sweet with Christine at
Facebook cool stuff:
Amazon Author Central:
Impossibly Pretty Pinteresting:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Now Available! PRAISE of the HEART, Book 3: The Sterling Lakes Series

So happy to let you know that the 3rd book in my Inspirational Romance series, The Sterling Lakes Series, is now available at Writer's-Exchange Publishing.

PRAISE of the HEART finds pro baseball player Cliff Markham coming home to help with the fundraising efforts for the renovations at St. Luke's Church. However, his home town of Sterling Lakes is not as idyllic as he remembers. The town librarian Laura Matthewson is key in helping him research the problems with the town's water source. Will she assist him in his efforts to unearth the truth? Or does she have secrets of her own to hide?

Here's a review of Sterling Lakes Book 2, ANGELS of the HEART:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Christian Book!June 23, 2013
Regina Andrews hooked me instantly into her Sterling Lakes Book Two: Angels of the Heart. From the first page, I felt like I was on the studio set of WMAS with Maryanne Lynch, a television journalist. Although Maryanne is engaged to Elwood, a wonderful man, she's eager to talk with an old high school friend, Travis Collimore, when he comes to the studio. As a developer, he tells Maryanne how the Townsend Barn will be destroyed when they do renovations of St. Luke's Church. Maryanne hasn't seen Travis for years, so she goes to Sterling Lakes Diner to continue their conversation and to catch up. She's happy to see him but isn't pleased that his consortium group have plans to destroy the old barn along with its rare angel weather vane.

She's surprised that while speaking with Travis in the diner she starts feeling warm. Why is Travis having this effect on her after all these years? Maryanne is a feisty and amazing woman. She decides to save the barn from being torn down, even though her fiancé, Elwood, disagrees with her. Her determination and compassion is what draws the town's people to her goal of saving something that is more than a barn to everyone. It seems to represent the spirit of the people. It's heartwarming how they come together as a unit to save what is important to their community. The barn is symbolic especially to Maryanne. She has happy memories of playing with her brother Mark in the barn before he died at age six. Losing the barn would be devastating to Maryanne because her childhood is tied with her precious times there.

Maryanne's caring for others doesn't stop at her TV studio. She reaches out to a pregnant teenager, Crystal, who needs her assistance. Travis is also a multidimensional character with his charity work being a priority in his life. He flies a helicopter for the Angel Flight Program and delivers transplant patients to the hospitals where the organs are available.

The way that Andrews weaved the story of Maryanne and Travis is touching, sweet, and even humorous at times. Reading how each character approaches their spiritual growth as Christians was uplifting to me. As I read this book, I felt like the author's words poured from her heart as a Christian. Regina Andrews has created an inspirational romance readers will root for, and I highly recommend this book.

Check out my website for more great reviews: